Viraj Madappa led a strong start from the Indians as he carded a seven-under-par 65 to share the first round lead with Thailand’s Itthipat Buranatanyarat at the Bank BRI Indonesia Open on Thursday.

Ajeetesh Sandhu (66), at Tied-third, and Aman Raj (67), at Tied-sixth, were the other Indians in the Top-10. In addition, Shiv Kapur, S Chikkarangappa and Rashid Khan carded 68 each to be Tied-12th, alongside Daniel Chopra.

Kshitij Naved Kaul, who got a special invite, carded 69 to be Tied-26th, while Om Prakash Chouhan and Aadil Bedi carded 70 each to be Tied-43rd. Chiragh Kumar, Khalin Joshi and M Dharma with 71 each are Tied-60th.

Abhijit Chadha (72), Honey Baisoya (73) and Udayan Mane (73) are further down. Jeev Milkha Singh (78) had a disappointing day.

Madappa and Itthipat held a one-shot advantage over Thailand’s Kosuke Hamamoto, Indonesian amateur Naraajie Emerald Ramadhan Putra and India’s Sandhu after the trio returned with matching 66s.

Madappa is searching for his second Asian Tour win after his breakthrough on home soil last year while Itthipat is coming into the week fresh from a tied-sixth finish in Kuching a fortnight ago and seeking his maiden victory on the region’s premier Tour.

“It has been a while since I felt happy with the way I played. I have been playing well but just not able to put together four good rounds. So it is really satisfying to be able to post a good score for a start today,” Madappa said.

“I have been playing well but just not able to believe in myself. I have not been mentally disciplined enough and I was not trusting the shots I knew I could hit. But I have been working on that for a couple of weeks now and it is good to see the results today,” he added.

Madappa became the youngest Indian, at the age of 20 years and nine months, to win on the Asian Tour last August. He turned professional in 2017 and made the grade in his first attempt at the Asian Tour Qualifying School last year.

Sandhu, who also has one Asian Tour win, said, “This round has given me much confidence going into the week although I wished I could have played the par-five a little bit.

“But overall it has been good. We had a bit of a break but I have been practicing hard and it is showing in my game today. I hope there is less wind tomorrow so that I can attack the pins.

Dagar takes over Malik in 13th leg of WPGT

Diksha Dagar plundered the back nine with four birdies against one bogey to grab the lead as overnight leader Tvesa Malik had a disappointing day in the second round of Women’s Pro Golf Tour at Gurugram on Thursday.

Diksha, who flew in straight from Europe for the event, bettered her first round 73 with a fine four-under 68 that took her total to three-under 141.

Tvesa on the other hand fell to one-under 143 as she carded three-over 75, which had just one birdie and four bogeys. As of now only Diksha and Tvesa have carded under par totals. That put Diksha is a strong position going into the final round.

Interestingly, Diksha’s only win on the Hero WPG Tour has come as an amateur in the last event of the 2017 season.

The current season of 2019 is her rookie season as a pro, and Diksha has already won the South African Women’s Open on the Ladies European Tour.

Even as Diksha holds a two-shot lead over Tvesa, the latter is another three shots ahead of Gursimar Badwal (73) and Gaurika Bishnoi (74), who are Tied-third.

Gursimar had three birdies on the front nine against one bogey, while she had three bogeys on the back nine for a total of 73, the same as the first day.

Gaurika had two birdies against four bogeys, three of which were on the front nine.

Ridhima has been having a quiet run after her win in the ninth leg, which was her third win of the season. Since then she has had a best finish of Tied-seventh, ans so will be looking at a good finish here.

Vani Kapoor (76) and Gurjot Badwal (77) are Tied-seventh, while Siddhi Kapoor (79) and Gauri Karhade (82) are Tied-ninth.

Sneha Sharan is the leading amateur and tied-11th alongside Amandeep Drall.

(with PTI inputs)